Riverdale tackles an issue this week that many cities across the US find themselves dealing with now, which is what can be done about a growing homeless population? But before we get to that, the episode starts with Jughead (ColeSprouse) conversing with Tabitha (ErinnWestbrook) normally. Is his hearing back? No, but everyone thinks it is. Instead, he’s picked up his telepathy skill quickly and is reading their thoughts right before they speak. Tabitha and Jughead discuss an anonymous article in Jughead’s paper that trashes Riverdale, calling it the worst town in America. This week’s Riverdale revolves around that article.
I mean, is the author wrong? Look at the number of murders compared to the population. Riverdale has to have more murders per capita than cities like Detroit, Camden or Chicago. The crime rate in Riverdale has to be much higher than in nearby New York City.
Archie (KJApa) disagrees with this assessment and lets Jughead know that he is pissed that Jughead published it. Jughead defends his paper as being a free press. Sure, but Jughead, you didn’t have to give that opinion piece the cover.
Britta sneaks into Nana Rose’s holding room and tells her that she saw Cheryl (MadelainePetsch) in Abigail’s reflection. That’s crazy that Britta saw this, right? That means it wasn’t just going on in Abigail’s head, but in the real world. But then Nana Rose explains that Britta has a strong connection to Abigail and Cheryl from Abigail previously possessing Britta, and suggests Britta enter Abigail’s dreamscape to free Cheryl, as one does.
At the town hall meeting, the article is on everyone’s minds. Jughead overhears the thoughts of everyone in the room. Alice is more concerned about the illegal casino operating in Riverdale. Veronica (CamilaMendes) defends her casino, saying they are hired lots of townsfolk. Alice thinks the only ones who will profit are the owners and that the Lodges have never done anything to actually benefit the town, only themselves.
Archie cuts this discussion short, wanting to know who wrote the article. There’s something called Robert’s Rules of Order, Archibald. Learn it. Percival Pickins admits to writing it. I haven’t covered Percival here in the past couple of episodes, because, well, he hasn’t really done anything than show up to town and sound British. But here is where Percival sets himself at one of two main antagonists of Riverdale season 6. He claims he didn’t want to put his name on the article because of the way people feel about his family name (Pickins was the name of the military man who wiped out the indigenous Riverdale population in colonial times). Archie is ready to throw down, but Uncle Frank lets Pickins speak. Pickins wants to bus out the residents of the homeless encampments that have sprung up around Riverdale. Archie defends them, saying the residents of Sketch Alley are members of Riverdale as much as anyone here. Pickins calls Archie out, wanting to hear his plan though. Jughead internally declares that the battle for Riverdale‘s soul has begun.
Jughead suggests to Archie that Riverdale build micro-homes for the unhoused people of Riverdale. For those that don’t know, this is an idea currently being tried in cities such as Philadelphia. Archie likes the idea.
Britta drugs Abigail’s tea and then drugs her own as well. But Britta, you need to make sure you wake up before Abigail! Britta falls asleep near Abigail and finds herself in Abigail’s dreamscape. Abigail is dreaming about one of Cheryl’s childhood birthday parties. It’s not a happy party. The dream really shows off how wicked a mother Penelope was to Cheryl. Britta doesn’t make any progress before an alarm wakes her up. She escapes the room before Abigail wakes.
Veronica wants to prove Alice wrong by operating the casino completely above board. She wants to fix the town that her dad broke. Reggie (CharlesMelton) says, sure, we just need to get our licenses and permits in order. She asks if it’s a problem? No, it’s just expensive.
Pickins meets with Alice at her house. Pickins plays the Polly card to win Alice’s support, using her as an example on why they need to make the town safer.
Veronica presents her idea to the council: make Riverdale the new Atlantic City. Alice craps on the idea immediately. Uncle Frank isn’t a fan either. He’s worried that a casino preys on veterans like himself and Archie. The next to speak is Archie, who presents his micro-houses next. He offers free labor by Andrews Construction. Archie wants to build 30. Everyone likes the idea, except Alice, who continues her crap fest, saying they’d need to raise taxes to pay for the building materials. Archie needs $20-25,000 per house. Pickins chimes in that his idea costs virtually nothing, literally bussing the homeless away.
Pickins meets with Archie next. He tells Archie that Riverdale could be the next Marsha’s Vineyard. Archie wants to bring Pickins on board with the houses, but Pickins shoots him down, saying people in Sketch Alley just want handouts not help, and that his neighbors don’t want them there. “They really want for the poor, the destitute, and the smelly to go away.” Archie tells him he’s wrong. Is he? Sadly, I do feel that many of the residents of Riverdale would rather see the homeless simply disappear than actually help them.
Archie needs help. First stop: a meeting with Tabitha and Toni (VanessaMorgan). He wants them to each underwrite a house. He offers to paint one like Pop’s and the other like the Whyte Worm. Toni asks if he minds if she’s a “gang member?” He responds, not at all. Of course not. Come on, Archie has a Serpents tattoo! He wants to put them in the Pop’s parking lot after constructing them in Sketch Alley. Why not just build them in the parking lot?
The gang visits Sketch Alley to tell people about the houses. Jughead pitches the idea of building houses for everyone there. Doc, Jughead’s old friend from Sketch Alley, is immediately onboard.
There’s trouble at the casino – Reggie has been crunching numbers and going legit is too expensive. If they don’t run scams, they won’t turn a profit. A casino employee interrupts and brings Reggie and Veronica to a private gambling room where they find a man hanging from the rafters. How did this happen? Was he gambling alone? Reggie suggests calling an ambulance, but Veronica’s “let’s go legit” mentality breaks at the first real opportunity and she calls Abuelita’s iceman instead. Reggies’ face says everything you need to know about this idea.
Britta makes another attempt to enter Abigail’s dreams. This time she finds Cheryl asleep next to Jason, but is interrupted by Penelope once again. Dreamscape Penelope is a nut, commanding both her children to scrub the floors upon waking. Britta wakes up again, not having made any progress.
However, progress is being made in Sketch Alley. That is, until Doc vacantly wanders over to Kevin and hits him in the head with a hammer. Alice bashes the homeless on TV following the attack. Toni and Tabitha meet with Archie to discuss it. Toni still supports the project, but doesn’t want it painted like the Whyte Worm. Tabitha is in as well, paint job and all.
Reggie looks into the dead guy. He wasn’t losing, he was up $20k. Why’d he kill himself? Veronica notices Pickins talking in the dead guy’s ear at the blackjack table. Is Pickins behind Doc’s attack on Kevin too?
Nana Rose tells Britta that Abigail is conjuring Penelope in the dreamscape to keep Cheryl contained.
Pickins visits the Kellers at the hospital, asking to come in. Oh no, we already know Kevin is weak willed! Remember his cult days?
Archie shows off the first house in the Pops parking lot.
Abuelita’s iceman zips up the body and plans to dump it at a Jersey rest stop. He offers to put the word out to wise guys to come check out the casino, but Veronica says she’s trying to avoid that scene. She asks if he can look into Percival Pickins for her.
Archie gets a call from Tabitha. Someone vandalized his tiny houses! Archie gets so pissed that he punches a dent into his own truck door.
Jughead visits Doc is jail. Doc has no memory of attacking Kevin. He says some guy with a British accent put the idea in his head. Dun! Dun! Jughead meets with Pickins. Jughead isn’t the only telepath. Pickins asks him in thought, “Are you having fun rooting around my brain, Mr. Jones?” Jughead is obviously surprised. Pickins tells him to get out. Jughead is visibly shaken by this.
Britta makes a third attempt to invade Abigail’s dreams. She finds Cheryl crying in a chair. Penelope catches Britta with Cheryl, but Britta fights back. She leaves Cheryl a note as Penelope kicks her out of Thornhill. The note tells Cheryl what’s going on with Abigail trapping her in her own mind. Penelope grabs a wire hanger to beat Cheryl, but Cheryl, now empowered, and in a much more Cheryl Blossom outfit, stands up to Penelope. She casts Penelope out.
Archie finds his friends repairing the micro-houses. Toni even paints the Whyte Worm logo on their house. Pickins shows up and says Sketch Alley is no longer an issue. He says he convinced the residents to leave town on their own. He gave them all a bus ticket and $100. The gang goes to Sketch Alley to find it completely deserted. Even the tents are gone.
Cheryl visits Britta in her dream, saying they need to drive Abigail out of her body. How? No idea.
Pickins is met with overwhelming applause when he tells the town meeting what he did in Sketch Alley. He says he couldn’t have pulled it off without the help of Tom Keller, who announces that he’s deputizing Pickins. Archie thinks “Dude’s like a supervillain,” and Jughead says aloud, “That’s exactly what he is,” and then tells Archie they need to talk tonight. All the Pickins talk led to the council skipping discussion of the casino. Alice tells Veronica and Reggie afterwards that after advice from Pickins the council thinks the casino is too risky. She calls Veronica the biggest liability because of her last name. Alice says they’d only support the casino if Veronica takes a backseat. Veronica defends herself, but Alice shoots her down. This sends Veronica down a darker path. Time to start running scams! The iceman looked into Percival and couldn’t’ find anything on him, “like he didn’t exist before he showed up here in Riverdale.”
Betty, wearing sunglasses, shows up that night at Archie’s house and asks Archie to shut the lights and TV. She takes off her sunglasses, saying light is setting off her headaches. Betty is now a creature of the night! She can still see auras but light hurts her. Apparently Jughead and Archie had their convo, because Archie fills in Betty on Jughead’s mindreading.
Pickins writes “Jughead Jones – Mind reader?” in his journal and then looks up at a board showing all of Riverdale‘s major players. He stares at Archie’s photo as the episode cuts out.